Foreign Affairs Committee Press Notice

PN 18 (Session 2008-09)

2 April 2009


Human Rights

The Foreign Affairs Committee today announced a new inquiry. The Committee will examine:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Human Rights Annual Report 2008 (published on 26 March 2009) and the work of the FCO in relation to promoting human rights in other countries; and

The responsibilities of the FCO for securing the human rights of British citizens and others overseas, including:

The case of Binyam Mohamed

Allegations of UK complicity in torture

Extraordinary rendition (including the possible role of Diego Garcia)

Transfer of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan

Allegations of abuse at the British Embassy in Iraq

The oversight of contractors, including private security companies, employed by the FCO and UK Posts overseas

The Committee asks for written submissions on these matters, in accordance with the guidelines stated below, by Friday 24 April 2009.

Each submission should:

€ aim to be no more than 3.000 words in length

€ begin with a short summary in bullet point form

€ state the title of the inquiry

€ have numbered paragraphs

€ be in Word format with as little use of colour/ logos as possible

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked 'Human Rights Inquiry'. Paper copies should be sent to:

Foreign Affairs Select Committee
Committee Office
House of Commons

You will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail or letter.

It would be helpful, for data protection purposes, if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at

Please note that:

€ Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

€ Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless specifically authorised.

€ Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Record Office. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

Media enquiries:

Members of the press with enquiries should contact Alex Paterson, Select Committee Media Officer, on 020 7219 1589, or 07917 488488, or by email to

Further Information:

1. The Foreign Affairs Committee is responsible for scrutinising the "administration, expenditure and policy" of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and its associated agencies. The text of all Committee publications, including Reports, can be found on the Committee's website at

2. Committee meetings are open to the public. Access is via St Stephen's Entrance for the House of Commons Committee Rooms and the main entrance on the Thames Embankment for Portcullis House Rooms. It is advisable to allow about 10 minutes to pass through security checks. There is no system for the prior reservation of seats in the Committee Rooms.

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Mike Gapes (Chairman), Labour, Mr Fabian Hamilton, Labour, Mr David Heathcoat-Amory, Conservative, Mr John Horam, Conservative, Mr Eric Illsley, Labour, Mr Paul Keetch, Liberal Democrats, Andrew Mackinlay, Labour, Mr Malcolm Moss, Conservative, Sandra Osborne, Labour, Mr Greg Pope, Labour, Mr Ken Purchase, Labour, Rt Hon Sir John Stanley, Conservative, Ms Gisela Stuart, Labour, Richard Younger-Ross, Liberal Democrats.

Specific Committee Information: Tel 020 7219 6394, email -

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, Tel 020 7219 1589, 07917 488 488 email -

Committee Website:

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online:

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on